No, its not Celebrity Death Match, guys, or anything like that.
President Lincoln said in his first Inaugural that states have no right to secede:
“It follows from these views that no State, upon its own mere motion, can lawfully get out of the Union, – that resolves and ordinances to that effect are legally void, and that acts of violence, within any State or States, against the authority of the United States, are insurrectionary or revolutionary, according to circumstances.”
But here’s Jefferson on the same topic:
“If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.”
If Thomas Jefferson is correct (and since he helped ‘a little’ in writing some documents :), then Lincoln started a needless war that killed hundreds of thousands and devastated the South!
No matter what Jefferson’s opinion was, his is not necessarily the authoritative determination. Not that his opinions are to be ignored, only that it wouldn’t do to say “TJ said it is so, therefore it is”. But that leads to #2…
TJ’s view on secession were not cut and dried, especially in light of the fact that he went after Aaron Burr for his conspiracy to secede and rip off the Louisiana Purchase to start his own Western Empire. TJ considered Burr’s acts to provoke a rebellion to form an independent nation to be treasonous. Pro-secession? Not as obvious as it might appear.
As for TJ’s quote, no one knows for sure, but as to the validity of dissolving the Union, the easy explanation is that it could have been done by calling a constitutional convention and deciding at that august meeting of states, and that, of course, would have been the lawful dissolution TJ spoke of.
“Lincoln’s needless war that killed thousands!” - this is not much of a conclusion, based on what TJ did or need not believe in terms of secession. Though the neo-Confederates and the Lost Cause libertarians maintain that if only the South could have seceded without Lincoln ordering war against them that a fantastic Age of Aquarius would have broken out - hilarious to the point of absurdity - the fragmentation of the Union could have created perpetual war on the North American continent, as old rivalries and spoils would have been up for grabs all over again. The Brits had been eyeballing Texas to regain a foothold in the Americas. Mexico was in a state of perpetual civil war and factions were feeling restless about conquest. Indian tribes still lurked and would have loved to reclaim territory. Spain and France.
Hell, divisions within the seceded states themselves would have created internecine conflict for years - i.e., the ferocious antagonism between Eastern Tennessee Unionists and Western Tennessee Confederates is a perfect example. And that doesn’t even count the near automatic chances of the North and South fighting post-secession - i.e., over territory in the American West.
The failure of the unionized republican experiment in North America would have had dire consequences to the free institutions the later generations have enjoyed. Unionization protected American liberty from external forces - take away the Union, and you take away the fortress that protected the very fragile republican experiment that had only been underway for 100 years. Lincoln wasn’t about to roll over and let that happen on is watch.[/quote]
This thread should end with this post. Couldn’t have said it any better…
And by the way lads…sorry, but the South deserved every fucking bit of what they got. You own slaves, and you secede, and I have no pity, except for that I wish every general took cues from Sherman and Sheridan and decided to make them howl.
Needless war my fucking balls.